A recent study lists nine key factors that contribute towards the risk of dementia. These include mid-life hearing loss, failing to complete secondary education, smoking and failing to seek early treatment for depression.

It is estimated that by 2050 there will be 131 million people globally living with dementia. Although the recent study had identified risk factors, ultimately no one really knows who will and who will not suffer from dementia. As well as the strain the illness puts on the families of those affected, there are other consequences of this illness.

Where an adult lacks capacity to deal with his or her financial or welfare affairs, a guardian must be appointed. Guardianships are relatively complex to set up and involve an application to the sheriff court. They can take many months and be expensive to put in place. The appointed guardian may not even be the person that the adult would have chosen had he or she been able to choose.

A simple solution to this issue however is to put a power of attorney in place. There are numerous advantages of a power of attorney over a guardianship order:

  • You choose who you want to act for you rather than your family choosing (and potentially having an argument over it).
  • There are no continuing insurance costs or supervisory costs.
  • There is no requirement to submit an annual account detailing the guardian’s intromissions with the adult’s finances (although an attorney should still keep their own records).
  • A power of attorney is much cheaper and much quicker to set up than a guardianship order.
  • A power of attorney can include many wide ranging powers that you wish to give your Attorney (including tax planning powers) whereas a guardianship order can only have the powers that a sheriff considers it appropriate that the guardian have.
  • A power of attorney lasts indefinitely whereas a guardianship order may have to be renewed on a frequent basis.

A power of attorney can deal with both financial and property issues and welfare issues and can contain a “springing clause” so that it only comes into effect if you become incapable of managing your affairs.

If you are interested in putting a power of attorney in place, please contact a member of our private capital team.